Many years ago I was riding in a hearse on the way to a graveside funeral. In the car was the family – 3 sons. They had in their hand their father’s diary. The diary was a simple book in the form of a calendar with dates on each page, and as we talked on the way to the funeral, one of the sons read a page from 30 years ago that said:
I played catch with Bobby.
That was all it said in scribbled form. Just five words, but in this case, five powerful words that made him cry. It was a moving moment that I remember to this day, 15 years later.
As I continue to think about this, I am reminded of the small and simple things we do that add up to a lifetime of parenting. Fathers play games with their children, watch TV with them, eat dinner with them, help them with their homework, watch their games, take them to school, and try to give them advice about what is ahead for them in this thing we call life. Sometimes you wonder if you have been successful, if any of these activities have had an impact – or if we are simply victims of Harry Chapin’s song, “Cats in the Cradle.”
Over the course of time men have been accused of being distant, and even abandoning their families. There is a whole organization called “Promisekeepers”, suggesting that men don’t live up to their vocation as either husbands or fathers. How we judge our fathers is an individual thing for every son or daughter. I can only say there are lots of fathers out there who have taught their children well, sacrificed for them, prayed for them, and stood by them when they have failed or fallen.
Study after study shows that children find church to be important if a Father, too, is present on Sunday mornings. As the song says, “Teach Your Children Well”. So, your faith and what you believe is something that needs to be shared and lived because it is the core of who you are.